Muppeteer Faz Fazakas (b.1918) has died. Fazakas was a special effects designer and puppeteer who began working with puppets in the 1950s. He joined Jim Henson in the 1970s and developed the mechanism to control the eye movement of life-size muppets like Big Bird and Sweetums as well as athe cables needed for the smaller characters including Rizzo. He worked on many of the Muppet films as well as Fraggle Rock and The Dark Crystal.
Jane Henson (b.1934, Jane Nebel) died on April 2 of cancer. Henson met Jim Henson in college and the two married in 1959. She helped him create the Muppets and collaborated with him on shows, traveling exhibits, and finding talent. She and Henson separated in 1986, but she continued to support his work and in 1992, she founded the Jim Henson Legacy to preserve his artistic contributions.
Puppeteer Jerry Nelson (b.1934) died on August 23. Nelson began working for Bill Bard in the 1960s, but was hired by Jim Henson to fill in for Franz Oz when Oz got drafted. Nelson continued to perform with the Muppets for parts of 6 decades. His most famous character was the Count and he also was the muppeteer behind Herry Monster, Biff, Floyd, Dr. Strangepork, Gobo Fraggle, Pa Gorg, and the Trash Heap. On The Muppet Show, he provided the voice of the announcer of “Pigs in Space” and “Veterinarian’s Hospital.”